When your passion in life is people there are a few pivotal career choices that come to mind: doctor, professor, counselor. For Rebecca Sturges, her life as a licensed marriage and family therapist is laughter, tears, reward, but most of all, it’s about the physical and mental wellness of her clients, the people she truly values.
Sturges received her Masters degree from Sacramento State University in marriage and family counseling. She also attended the University of California, Santa Barbara in the late ’70s, the place where she met her husband of 37 years. With experience in both marriage and family therapy and as a professional clinical counselor, Sturges guides her clients through a number of private issues like weight concerns, anxiety troubles, and panic attacks. But, about 80 percent of her practice is working with people who have over-eating issues.
“I think that prejudice against people who are overweight is the last socially sanctioned area of bigotry in our country and I think in America, the food that is offered to us and available is problematic and it comes from a million areas,” says Sturges.
With a short, blond haircut, kind and soft blue eyes, and a smile that radiates with welcoming energy, it’s no surprise that Sturges operates a busy practice in Midtown in a large, striking Victorian-style building. “My passion has always been working with people and health education,” she says. “I’ve always been interested in where the mind meets the body in terms of our health and our happiness.”
Sturges’ roots in the medical field run deep. Her father was a doctor, her mother, a physical therapist, and her brother, also a doctor. Yet, one memory resonated and stuck with her since the days she worked at her father’s office in high school. A patient of her father’s named Paul worked diligently to lose 100 pounds after taking some stern advice from her father. Stern advice, she describes as, “you’re going to be dead in a year, unless you lose some weight.”
“But, my dad was also overweight,” she admits. “My dad wasn’t doing anything about it and my dad ended up dying of a massive heart attack at 52.” The irony of the situation was not lost on her.
“Really smart, really accomplished people struggle with over-eating and I’m able to hold that frame and I’m protective against people who are overweight,” says Sturges of her practice. For her, it’s more than just sitting in a room and listening to other peoples’ problems. It’s a gift. It’s softening the way people view themselves. But, more importantly, it’s helping her clients live a more rich and fulfilling life.
“I feel like I live in all these worlds. I’ve gone into these lives and people who don’t know me, know about me,” she says. “I love what I do. I really love it. A lot of times, there’s just as much laughter as tears—and there’s tears— but, when you help someone do better it’s such a beautiful thing to facilitate. We all do better when we’re supported.”
To learn more, visit Rebecca Sturges, 2627 Capitol Ave., Sacramento, CA 95816, RebeccaSturges.com